Badgers denied by last-gasp goal

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DAN Gardner’s last-gasp goal denied Eastwood their first win since October in a remarkable game at Droylsden on Tuesday night.

Blue Square Bet North


Dale Johnson 30, 63

Dan Gardner 90


Josh Burge 64

David Haggerty 67, 76

by Paddy Farrell

DAN Gardner’s last-gasp goal denied Eastwood their first win since October in a remarkable game at Droylsden on Tuesday night.

The Badgers had recovered from 2-0 down to lead 3-2 thanks to three goals in 12 minutes, but a disastrous end to the game saw Kallum Keane sent off before Gardner struck.

On a rain-soaked surface Eastwood had an early chance when Mitch Hanson’s free-kick was lost by home keeper Paul Phillips in a goalmouth skirmish but Lewis Killeen hacked clear.

Ian Deakin was quickly in action following a fluent right flank build-up which provided Ciaran Kilheeney with a tempting target. Deakin bravely dived out to block away the experienced striker’s close-range shot.

Following a sustained spell of pressure created by Droylsden’s impressive ability to retain possession, Eastwood had several near escapes and the visitors’ growing frustration brought a yellow card for Alex Troke for a blatant tug on an opponent’s shirt.

Out of the blue Jevaise Christie then had two promising chances, but first over-ran the ball when fed clear and then failed to make anything of Paul Riley’s astute pass into space.

Eastwood’s overworked – often overrun – defence coped well with three successive left-side corners, the last of which was somehow blocked behind by Troke. The fourth set-piece proved decisive as Dale Johnson converted in 31 minutes.

For the rest of the half Eastwood somehow survived relentless home advances with Deakin bringing off a series of good saves and Keane probably relieved to get only a yellow card for a wild sliding challenge.

Gregg Simmons had shown good touches and livened up the re-start with a powerful right-side run and perceptive pull-back in which Christie might have shown more interest.

On the hour mark. Droylsden probably deserved their two-goal cushion but Deakin clearly showed his disgust when Johnson’s shot beat him on his near post

But Eastwood got a quick boost as 17-year-old Simmons showed his potential with a surge past two defenders and a teasing cross calmly converted by Joshn Burge for 2-1.

Eastwood responded and when David Haggerty knocked in Hanson’s free-kick in 65 minutes, what had looked a runaway home win was suddenly tied at 2-2.

And just minutes later the turnaround was complete, as a duplicated set-piece saw Haggerty again ghost in to smack Hanson’s delivery past Phillips.

Steve Istead, who had replaced Troke at half-time, tried to calm things down but, when Simmons had to limp off after a really good stint, Eastwood really came under stress.

A madly frenetic siege of Deakin’s goal, headlined by corner after corner, was heroically resisted but, when Keane got a second yellow dead on normal time, ten very tired visitors finally succumbed as Gardner nipped in to notch the equaliser.

In an announced five minutes injury-time which stretched to seven, Eastwood’s courage was amazing and every exhausted survivor a real hero.

Eastwood: 1 Ian Deakin 2 Kallum Keane 3 Chris Shaw 4 Josh Burge 5 David Haggerty 6 Sam Benjamin 7 Jevaise Christie 8 Mitch Hanson (C) 9 Gregg Simmons (Danny Elliott 78) 10 Alex Troke (Steve Istead 45) 11 Paul Riley Subs not used: Ashley Noble Att: 175

Best Badger: David Haggerty